Poor Carly Melin: she's pretty smart, but in today's MinnPost, it sounds like she's suffering sudden-outset cognitive dysfunction by chattering about how the advent of frac sand mining in Southeastern Minnesota will finally build some empathy for the pro-mining side of issues on the Range.
Because, you know, like, people in Southeastern Minnesota are so rabidly pro-mining. Or maybe it's the sand and other sediment contaminating the St. Croix River (right) are so totally and awesomely creating empathy for mining.
Doug Grow writes in MinnPost:
Melin, a potential rising DFL star, has some hope that frac-sand mining in southeastern Minnesota will create even more empathy for Range views on pushing ahead more quickly on mining.
“It’s nice to see another part of the state where mining resources can have a big impact,” Melin said. “We have to understand that our natural resources can create jobs that China can’t take away.”
Frac sand mining has had a big impact on Southeastern Minnesota indeed, but Bluestem wonders why Melin believes that impact will helping create empathy for mining elsewhere.
Reading her comments, you'd never even guess that every public hearing about industrial scale frac mining is packed with hundred of citizens, most of whom are deeply concerned about health, safety, environmental and property values, as well as to a negative impact to Southeastern Minnesota's landscape and tourist industry.
Reading her comments, you'd never even guess that Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona, Fillmore and Houston Counties enacted moratoria in order to address those concerns, as did cities and townships. Or that former Senator Howe and citizens turned to the Environmental Quality Board asking for a statewide Generic Environmental Impact Statement on frac sand mining.
Reading her comments, you'd never even guess that the boom-and-bust cycle of frac sand mining lead many to conclude that the opportunity costs of digging up the signature bluffs of the Driftless region aren't worth it.
It's baffling why she believes the frac sand wars in Southeastern Minnesota will create empathy for the Range elsewhere--other than in the minds of industrial scale frac sand mining lobbyists or ALEC tools like Steve Drazkowski and Denny McNamara.
McNamara, who served on the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) Natural Resources Task Force in 2011 recently told the Red Wing Republican Eagle in Sand mining is expected to be an issue at state level that there's really not much for the legislature to talk about:
“I think we’ll have some discussion about the mining issue, especially in southeastern Minnesota as it affects the Mississippi River,” Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, said.
He said the state probably will not have a major role except when it comes to issues with transportation.
“We need to look at the taxes we’re collecting when we extract minerals from the ground, and if are they adequate to cover all the costs associated with that work,” he said, referring to roads that might need to be repaired or built for trucks transporting the materials. “We don’t want the other taxpayers subsidizing the gravel operation.”
Pave the roads; screw the residents. It's the way industrial sand mining corporations build empathy.
Perhaps some of Melin's constituents might visit with her about what the peasants in Southeastern Minnesota are fussing about so that she understands that maybe her statements aren't likely to generate more empathy for the Range, however eager Draz and McNamara seem to commiserate with her. Bluestem doubts her words will bring anyone new to the pity party, while some of us hicks might begin to lose sympathy.
A good place to start is the "Start Here" information page at the Frac Sand Frisbee of links to reports, news stories and local citizen groups from Minnesota and Wisconsin.
More thoughtful folks might consider attending a meeting in Caledonia on Thursday, January 17; if you're coming from the Range or elsewhere, take the scenic route to figure out why folks think their corner of the state is worth fighting for. Unlike the Range, there's no history of industrial-scale mining.
The meeting is being promoted on the Sand Point Times website by the Houston County Protectors.
Via the Frac Sand Frisbee, here's a fact sheet outlining UW Professor Stephen Deller's research. Deller is one of the speakers on Thursday, January 17.
Photo: Sand and sediment spill into the St. Croix River from a frac sand mine, contaminating the river and wetlands, killing aquatic life, and for residents of Planet Carly, building empathy for mining. Okey-dokely-do! Photo via Minnesota Public Radio.
If you liked reading this post, consider throwing a donation our way: